Tuesday, July 27, 2004

Dr. Smith is holding court at Overlawyered this week.   Today she shares the story of a physician named in a suit over a situation that occurred over a year after they left that hospital.  The physician in question was eventually dropped.    After lamenting the lack of consequences for the attorney in question the author makes the point that a case doesn't have to be lost for liability premiums to rise:
I'd like to reiterate, had I not done things the way I had, but rather called my insurer and had them handle it, it would have probably cost tens of thousands of their dollars to figure this out. Further, I would have had an open claim on my record and my rates would have been jacked up for several years...all because a lawyer wasn't held accountable up front for reckless behavior.
Even when a suit hasn't been filed yet, costs may accrue. I have gotten demand letters from lawyers representing patients I had peripheral involvement with (you put in a central line in this patient that had other problems, give us a million dollars) that I have spoken to my liability carrier about. This is an expenditure of time on my part and money (to open a file, call around, ect) on theirs.
Another trick I have noticed some lawyers engaging in is filing suit against the main characters and also various "John Does".  I guess those are reserved seats for those poor souls who are found out during discovery.  So, for example, I am deposed in a case which currently I am not named in, and the statute of limitations has expired.  But several "John Does" are named.  What to do?  Have my liability carrier retain counsel for me, of course.  Heaven forbid I become "John Doe #1"
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